October 2017
Message From Chair Beth Kigel
Dear Members,

Happy fall everyone! At every turn, we are all reminded that we belong to a very special organization. This summer was filled with exciting new opportunities, as well as distressing uncertainty as Hurricane Irma made its way through our state. The way in which our members celebrate the good times with each other, as well as come together during the challenging ones, is truly inspirational. I am grateful to not only be serving as your chair, but alongside you as a fellow Floridian. 

With this new year, comes fresh ideas! Leadership Florida’s Board of Directors, Connect Board of Governors, regional councils, and statewide committees are in full swing. Classes have begun, and our new President and CEO Wendy Spencer has been travelling the State engaging our members and their organizations. As we prepare for Leadership Florida’s Strategic Planning process, you can expect innovative ideas, a refreshing look at program content and events, and new ways to collaborate. This is an exciting time to engage as we launch Leadership Florida into the future!

As a reminder, your annual membership dues are due now. For us to continue to provide top level programming, events and speakers, we need your support. Please click on the link HERE to pay your 2017-2018 annual membership dues or, if needed, to have an invoice sent to you. 

Looking forward to seeing what this new year brings together with our active and engaged members!
Message From President & CEO Wendy Spencer
Dear Members,

I would like to thank you for welcoming me into the Leadership Florida family with open arms. I am thrilled to serve as president and chief executive officer of an organization that exhibits unwavering core values, boasts an amazing vision, all while providing great experiences for Florida’s leaders. Since March, I have been able to meet with many of you during my listening sessions, the Wendy and Wendy tour, Annual Meeting, the ongoing “breaking bread” campaign, new member welcome receptions and the Education and Connect Class program sessions, and soon the Cornerstone Class. I absolutely love your energy, ideas and input regarding Leadership Florida’s path with an eye towards the future. 

My goal this first year is to listen, observe, learn, and challenge all of us in the Leadership Florida family to consider all the ways we can use our great foundation of success in convening Florida’s leaders to take part in making Florida an even greater place to live, work, and play.

I pledge to preserve those programs and practices that have demonstrated proven success, look for areas of improvement for other programs, and to build on areas that have great promise. 

I would like to introduce to you a few new members of Leadership Florida’s team! Joining our leadership team is our new Program Director, Letreze Gooding. Letreze is a veteran of the program development, meeting planning, and leadership convening arena. She is currently the Director of Education and Events for the Florida Association of Counties, which is a perfect platform for her to transition to Leadership Florida. Letreze will begin with Leadership Florida on November 6. Also joining our leadership team is Public Relations Manager, Rachel Pratt. Rachel is a dynamic individual with many years of experience in public relations, legislative affairs and special events. Also joining the team is Members Services Assistant, Hunter Hill and intern Karmen Harlemon. I am absolutely thrilled to have these talented individuals on our team! Please join me in welcoming them into the Leadership Florida family! 

It is a very exciting time to be a part of Leadership Florida and I look forward to a phenomenal year ahead!
Welcome New Staff!
Letreze Gooding, Program Director

Since 2005, Letreze Gooding has worked at the Florida Association of Counties (FAC) as their Director of Education and Events. Ms. Gooding was responsible for the curriculum and execution of FAC’s conferences and education certification programs for Florida's county commissioners and key county staff. She also served as Deputy Executive Director of the Florida Counties Foundation, the Board that oversees the Association’s educational programming. In 2015, Letreze received the "Ethics in Government Award" ​from the Florida Association of County Atto r neys for the ethics education programs she organized for Florida's county commissioners and constitutional officers...Click HERE to see Letreze's full bio.
Rachel Pratt, Public Relations Manager

Born and raised in Tallahassee, Rachel is a proud Floridian with a passion for the sunshine state. She serves as Public Relations Manager for Leadership Florida and is responsible for all communications efforts, special projects, and events including public relations, the Annual Meeting, social media, political debates, “but for” events, website management and new partnerships. Rachel began her professional career in politics over 10 years ago, she has worked with firms and organizations such as The Windsor Group, The Florida League of Cities and Greenberg Traurig. Prior to joining Leadership Florida, Rachel served as an Account Manager for The Zimmerman Agency, were she secured national placements for clients...Click HERE to see Rachel's full bio.
Hunter Hill
Member Services Assistant
Karmen Harlemon
Member Spotlight
Pam Rauch
Leadership Florida Cornerstone Class XXVII

This month, we recognize our Leadership Florida Chair-Elect and Cornerstone Class XXVII member, Pam Rauch! As the vice president of external affairs and economic development for Florida Power & Light, Pam played a key role in massive power restoration efforts after Hurricane Irma left 4.4 million customers without power this past September. Not only did she and her team work with every emergency operations center activated to address the emergency in all of the communities served by FPL impacted by Hurricane Irma--she is also the recipient of the 2017 Extraordinary Women Leading Change Award. The award goes to top women leaders bringing about change in their companies and communities. We reached out to Pam to get her thoughts and reflections on her achievements.

What was your role in the restoration efforts post Hurricane Irma? 
During an emergency event, I serve as the Company’s local government liaison and I lead the External Response Team. This team is the face of the company and staffs the emergency operations centers around the state before and after a storm or emergency event. They work directly with elected leaders and governmental staff.
After Hurricane Irma I personally visited impacted areas around the state. FPL assembled the largest restoration workforce ever by any one utility company and pre-positioned the largest number of crews in advance of a storm in U.S. history. In fact, Hurricane Irma was the fastest restoration of the largest number of people by any one utility in U.S. history. 
Did Florida Power & Light participate in any volunteer efforts?
Under my leadership, we created the Power to Care program nine years ago. Last year alone, our employees volunteered over 85,000 hours. Our employees are passionate about helping the communities where we live and work, as well as helping those impacted by natural disasters. During this past storm restoration, our customer service teams positioned tents in the hardest hit areas to provide real time information about their power status along with phone charging, ice and water. We also donated over $1 million to Volunteer Florida to assist with restoration around the state and matched employee donations as well.
What does it mean to you to win the 2017 Extraordinary Women Leading Change Award?
To be recognized as a leader in my community is one of the best honors I could hope to receive. I am humbled by this recognition, but realize that I am very fortunate to be part of a company of people who share the same values that I do, which allows us to effectuate positive change together.
Please tell us about life outside of work and committees. What are some of your hobbies?
I am in a stage of my life where I am completely devoted to my husband and two teenage sons. I enjoy spending time with them whether it be supporting my boys in all of their sports and activities, or paddle boarding, snorkeling, yoga, or taking a morning walk on the beach!  
Breaking Bread Tour
Our new President & CEO, Wendy Spencer is “breaking bread” with Leadership Florida partners around the state to thank them and gain feedback and build relationships for an even stronger future for Leadership Florida.

Click on the image for a short video!
New Member Announcement
In august, we announced the new class members of Leadership Florida Cornerstone XXXVI, Connect VIII, and Education III. To view the press release click HERE To view full rosters for Leadership Florida Cornerstone (previously known as Annual Class), Connect, and Education please click HERE .
New Member Welcome Receptions
T hank you to everyone that has attended New Member Welcome Receptions! So far, welcome receptions have been held in the Northwest (Pensacola), East Central, Gold Coast, Gulfstream and Calusa regions. Stay tuned for more!

Click on the image to see video!
Catching Up With Classes
Leadership Florida Education Class III
Forty-three outstanding men and women were selected for Leadership Florida Education Class III! The opening session was held on September 27-29 in Mt. Dora and Howey-in-the-Hills. Class members participated in unique events, activities and a team building dinner. Education members were inspired, reinvigorated and motivated to take what they learned at the opening retreat back to work with them. 

Speakers included:

  • Silas Kulkarni, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Teaching Lab
  • Dr. Betsy Arons, CEO, Urban Schools Human Capital Academy
  • Jonathan Travers, Partner, Education Resource Strategies
  • Dr. Peter K. Hammerschmidt, Professor of Economics, Eckerd College, Leadership Consulting Services

Member Quotes:

  • Dr. Stacy Carlson, President & CEO of Pinellas Education Foundation said, “I felt the entire program was weaved together in a very intentional way. I could thread the concepts together and they helped illuminate opportunities for me to approach my work most effectively.”

  • Ladona Kelley, Student & Family Support Liaison of Calhoun County School District said, “Accommodations were fabulous! Organization was excellent as well! Kudos to everyone at Leadership Florida! It is wonderful making new friends.”

  • Sunny Chancy, Chief Academic Officer of Wakulla County Schools stated, “The session with Silas was most powerful and thought provoking.”

Upcoming Education Session Dates:

  • West Palm Beach—PGA National Resort & Spa, October 26-27, 2017
  • Orlando—Embassy Suites, January 25-26, 2018
  • Tallahassee—Aloft, February 22-23, 2018
  • Sarasota—Ritz Carlton (Annual Meeting), June 14-17, 2018
Leadership Florida Connect Class VIII
Leadership Florida has selected 45 of Florida’s rising leaders to educate, engage and inspire! They met for the first time last week in Orlando for the Leadership Florida Connect Class VIII opening session. During the session class members witnessed phenomenal speakers; engaged in activities such as opening circle introductions and creative problems solving; and attended memory making events as they bonded during the Orlando Magic basketball game and tour. One major highlight was the presentation given by the Emergency Response and Community Impact Team of Orlando Health, as well as House Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith regarding the community response to the Pulse nightclub tragedy. This was a very timely discussion considering the heartbreaking recent events in Las Vegas. 

Speakers Included:

  • The Honorable Buddy Dyer, Mayor of Orlando
  • Dr. Nathaniel Glover, President, Edward Waters College, Former Sheriff, Duval County (Executive Class IX)
  • Ken Lawson, President & CEO, VISIT FLORIDA
  • Carolyn Fennell, Senior Director of Public Affairs & Community Relations, Greater Orlando Aviation Authority
  • Davin Ruohomaki, Senior Director of Planning, Engineering & Construction, Greater Orlando Aviation Authority
  • Tom Draper, Senior Director of Airport Operations, Greater Orlando Aviation Authority
  • Mark Jones, President, Orlando Regional Medical Center and SVP, Orlando Health (Executive Class IX)
  • Dr. Michael Cheatham, Chief Surgical Quality Officer, Orlando Regional Medical Center and Chairman, Orlando Health Surgical Group
  • Amy DeYoung, Administrator of Allied Health Services, Orlando Regional Medical Center
  • Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith, District 49
  • Dr. Peter Hammerschmidt, Professor of Economics, Leadership Development Institute, Eckerd College and Leadership Consulting Services

Member Quotes:

  • Lauren Purdy, an Attorney with Gunster said, “This week was amazing! I am so amazed and impressed by everyone in this group and the dedication of everyone at Leadership Florida to make this a special experience. The programming has been interactive, informative and thought-provoking.”

  • Statement from anonymous class member, “What a wonderful experience! Thank you for the well-thought out session. I am pumped to get back to work with a new group of colleagues and new perspectives.”

  • Statement from anonymous class member, “But for Leadership Florida, I would have never had the opportunity to hear about Pulse, the responders and the positive impact of the leaders after the fact.”
Upcoming Connect Session Dates:

  • Pensacola—The Hilton Pensacola Beach, November 8-10, 2017
  • Tallahassee—Hotel Duval, February 8-10, 2018
  • Miami—The Conrad, April 12-14, 2018
  • Sarasota—Ritz Carlton (Annual Meeting), June 14-17, 2018
Hurricane Irma
Leadership Florida family, we are extremely thankful that each of you along with your family members are safe following the storm. We loved seeing the outpouring of compassion, caring and concern demonstrated by each of you before and after Irma. Please keep sharing your volunteer and relief efforts on social media using the hashtag #LeadershipFloridaStrong.
Upcoming Events
  • October 23, 2017: Northwest (Tallahassee) Regional New Member Reception (Click here to view invitation)

  • October 26-27, 2017: Leadership Florida Education Class III Second Session: West Palm Beach, PGA National Resort & Spa

  • November 7, 2017: West Central New Member Reception (Click here to view invitation)

  • November 8-10, 2017: Leadership Florida Connect Class VIII Second Session: Pensacola, The Hilton Pensacola Beach

  • November 15, 2017: Southwest New Member Reception (In conjunction with the Cornerstone Class reception)

  • November 15-17, 2017: Leadership Florida Cornerstone Class XXXVI Opening Session. Event taking place in Naples. 
Thank You Sponsors!